Frequently Asked Questions - Admissions

How will the new changes for GPA calculation and Winter 2020 grades announcement affect the full-year courses from 2019-2020 academic year?

If the applicant’s institution has divided the full-year course and given a semester course mark for the first term, we will count that mark in the GPA calculation. If the applicant’s institution has only provided a mark at the end of the Winter 2020 term, then the entire course will be treated as being credit/no credit and will not be used in the GPA calculation. In both cases, all credit/no credit courses will count towards the number of credits required for application and may be used to fulfil prerequisites. None of the courses designated credit/no credit due to Covid-19 disruptions will be amongst the courses dropped for those eligible for the weighting formula. 

Why have you decided to treat Winter 2020 grades as credit (CR)/no credit (NCR)?

After consulting with other universities, we have been given a broad understanding of the difficulties of course delivery and the challenges faced by both professors and students in adapting to on-line learning. In addition, after an in-depth examination of the variations of how winter courses were arranged, and how responsibilities, assignments, and examinations were laid out over the term, it has become apparent that there is no equitable way to split a full year course and effectively encompass all the variations and nuances encountered by many academic institutions.

Why did you decide to implement changes in how GPA is calculated?

The changes that have been announced are part of the renewal process announced in 2019. All changes are introduced in phases to allow us to carefully monitor our interventions and assess their efficacy in making our admissions process more equitable and accessible.

Can you take into account my individual circumstances that affected my GPA in Winter 2020?

Applicants have the option of submitting an academic explanation essay, if they have had extenuating circumstances where their GPA does not reflect their true academic ability.

Will my part-time studies be included in the GPA calculation?

No. Part-time courses are counted towards meeting the prerequisite and degree requirements, but they will not be included in the GPA calculation. 

Can you explain the difference between full-time studies and a full course load?

Full-time studies include 3.0 or more full course equivalents (FCEs) in the regular academic session (September-April) and 1.5 or more FCEs in the summer session (May-August). A full course load represents 5.0 (FCEs) in the regular academic session (September-April). A full course load is typically the absolute maximum number of courses you can take per year without requesting special permission. The course load is determined by the regular academic session of study, not by each semester. 

Does a withdrawn course (W) count towards a full course load for GPA?

No. For a course to count towards GPA, it must be completed, even if it is failed. As a withdrawal is not a completed course, it cannot be used towards a full course load. 

Will the 2020-21 admissions requirements continue into the 2021-22 cycle and future cycles?

The change affecting Winter 2020 grades will be applied to all future applications. Please review the MD Program website for any other annual changes or updates. 

It appears there are some final changes, as part of the Admissions Renewal plan started in 2019. When will these changed be announced?

The final change that is part of our multi-phase Admissions Renewal Plan is that students seeking admission to Temerty Faculty of Medicine in Fall 2023 and beyond will no longer have weighting (wGPA) used as part of the admissions process. 

Should I not apply if my GPA and MCAT are slightly below the minimum requirements, even though I qualify in terms of the other requirements?

All applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements in order for their application to be screened. We are adhering to the minimum GPA and MCAT requirements due to application numbers. 

Do I require a certain grade for prerequisite courses?

No. We require that prerequisite courses have been passed.

For MD/PHD applicants, can we have duplicate referees in addition to the graduate supervisor (e.g. references that were used for the MD portion of the application)?

The 3 additional letters of reference for the MD/PhD applicants can include some duplicate referees, but they will have a different focus (i.e. your scientific ability and potential). 

Are we allowed to have a reference section in the BPEs?

Yes. Each brief personal essay must be 250 words or less. This word count does not include titles, references or verifiers, if you choose to include these.

Can I send updates for my ABS and transcripts?

No. The activities listed on your ABS, as well as transcript information, are limited to those prior to the application deadline.

I completed a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Will it be treated as a graduate degree?

The PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) is a professional, undergraduate degree and not a graduate degree. 

I am a member of an underrepresented community. How do you ensure that a member from my community is included in my file review or interview process?

Each year, we invite residents, clinical fellows, physicians, allied health professionals, and community members, to name a few, to join our group of file review and interview volunteers. We also enlist the help of our current MD student representatives to recruit a diverse group of volunteers each year. 

How does the waiting list work?

When a space in the class becomes available, we contact the next person on the waitlist with an offer of admission. We will make repeated attempts to contact applicants from the waitlist who are being offered admission - we do not skip your name simply because we got your voicemail. Since we cannot predict how many additional offers may be necessary, or when they may be needed, we maintain a portion of the waitlist until the beginning of classes. Final notification to these candidates will be sent in September. 

Can I take first or second year courses in my third or fourth year?

You are expected to complete studies that correspond with your current year.  For example, if you are applying for admission while registered in the third year of undergraduate studies, you should have at least three third-year or higher courses in your program. If you are in the fourth year of your program, you should be enrolled in a majority of courses at the third- and fourth-year levels.  Please note that this is an expectation rather than a requirement.  It is recognized that at times, students take courses in lower years for various reasons, such as a change in program or to complete subjects of interest or prerequisites that did not fit the academic schedule previously.  If you have information about your academics you feel is important for the Admissions Committee to know, you may explain your individual circumstances using the Academic Explanations Essay within the OMSAS application. 

Do you accept online degree-level courses and do they count toward the GPA?

Online degree-level courses completed at accredited universities are acceptable in order to fulfill degree and prerequisite requirements.  Additionally, if the online course(s) are completed as full-time studies, they would count towards the overall GPA.   

I took a first year course as an “extra” course. My university will not count the mark in my GPA or the credit towards my degree requirements. How will it count in my application?

We do not use the GPA calculated by your university as we do our own calculations.  All marks from courses taken as full-time studies, (i.e. 3.0 FCEs in the regular academic session- September to April and  1.5 FCEs in the summer term), will count in the GPA. 

Does U of T accept applications to the first year of the MD Program from students who are currently undergraduate medical students in other medical schools?

The circumstances of the applicant would be evaluated individually. Any application would have to be made in the usual way, meeting published deadlines, and would be assessed in the same pool with all other applicants for entry in that year. 

How many years of undergraduate studies are required for admission?

Canadian Universities: 

At least three years in a coherent course of study which, if completed, would lead to a university degree, most commonly a Bachelor's degree. Candidates who apply during their third year of study must be completing the equivalent of 15 FCEs by the end of the third year, and have completed the course requirements for either a three-year degree or the third year of a four-year program. Candidates who apply during their fourth year are expected to be completing the equivalent of 20 FCEs  or completing their four-year degree. Candidates who will not meet these requirements due to enrolment in special programs must outline the reason in the Academic Explanations Essay on the OMSAS application. 

Universities Outside Canada: 

Applicants attending American universities must be completing a four-year Bachelor’s degree. Applicants attending universities outside Canada or the U.S. must complete the equivalent of a four-year Canadian Bachelor's degree. This equivalency must be assessed in a course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services 

Is preference given to U of T students?

No. All universities across Canada are treated equally in the application process.

Is there an undergraduate program of study that is most suitable for admission to the MD Program?

No. Students with university education in any discipline are encouraged to apply. Medicine requires individuals with strong backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, physical sciences and life sciences. All programs are treated equally in the evaluation process. 

Does the Faculty of Medicine offer any financial aid and support?

Yes. See our financial aid page for more information on the awards, scholarships, grants and bursaries available. 

When do I receive the second portion of my funding?

Generally, OSAP and other government aid are not released all at once. Some is released when you register and begin classes and the rest is released at the start of your second term in January. 

Where can I obtain information about OSAP and government loans?

The application process may vary from province to province. Students must apply for loan assistance from their home province. 

The University of Toronto financial aid page provides links to all provincial and territorial student loan programs. 

Are professional programs such as Dentistry, Pharmacy or Chiropractic College considered graduate programs?

No. Marks from completed years of university undergraduate professional programs such as Dentistry or Pharmacy are calculated as part of the undergraduate GPA. College marks (including Chiropractic, Naturopathic or Homeopathic programs) are not included in the GPA calculation. 

What is the difference between undergraduate and graduate applicants to the MD program?

An important distinction is our minimum GPA requirement. Also, graduate applicants receive credit for their graduate work. 

Are there quotas for how many graduate applicants are accepted?

No. There are no quotas of any kind. The most competitive of all applicants are offered admission to the program, regardless of academic level.

Is there any flexibility with the June 30 deadline to complete the requirements for the graduate degree?

No. Applicants who cannot meet this deadline will have their offer cancelled.

I completed all the requirements for my graduate degree, but my convocation is scheduled after the application deadlines. Do I need to submit a letter from the graduate department regarding my status in the graduate program at the time of application?

No. A letter from the graduate department confirming your status in the graduate program is not needed at this time. Please ensure that you make arrangement for your official graduate transcript to be sent to OMSAS. We will conduct verification checks between December and January by reaching out to the graduate contact you have listed on your OMSAS application to confirm your degree and progress. 

My graduate degree will not be conferred by the application deadline. Am I considered a graduate applicant?

Yes. If you have completed or are enrolled in the final year of your graduate program (Masters or Doctorate) at the time of applying to the MD program, you are considered a graduate applicant. 

If I have completed my graduate program am I still considered a graduate applicant?

Yes. You are required to submit the contact information of a verifier for your program as part of your OMSAS application. Without this information your application would be incomplete and may not be considered. 

My supervisor was one of my three referees. Do they have to send an additional letter?

No, but you should include them as your verifier for your graduate program. 

I have already heard from other Ontario medical schools regarding interviews. What takes U of T so long?

Medical schools have different assessment procedures. At U of T, the interview is the final stage of the admissions process. Applications are reviewed in detail prior to ranking for interview. Due to the volume of applications, the process of careful review and scheduling means you may hear from us later than from other schools. 

What if I am unavailable on the interview date you offer?

Attendance at an interview is mandatory. We will make a reasonable effort to accommodate students who have conflicting interviews or compelling personal circumstances. Due to the limited availability of interview times, such accommodation is not always possible. 

What if my interview invitation gets lost?

Invitations are sent by e-mail to the address you provide in your OMSAS application. All applicants who are offered an interview must reply by a given date. If you are invited for interview and we do not hear from you, we will try to contact you by telephone and/or e-mail. Failure to respond to the invitation may result in the cancellation of your application. Please ensure that you keep your contact information up-to-date with OMSAS. We receive these updates on a regular basis. 

When are offers made?

Offers of admission will start to be sent out in the 2nd week of May. 

When can I call for feedback on my file?

We do not provide personalized feedback on applications.

When do interviews take place?

Interviews take place between February and April. Applicants are notified by e-mail on an ongoing basis, as the files are reviewed. 

When should I call to ask about the status of my application?

We are not able to provide status information on your application.

When should I call to find out if any new offers are being made?

We are not able to release information regarding offer status.

Why can't I find out my position on the waitlist?

It is our policy not to disclose an applicant's position on the waitlist.

How is the MCAT used in the application process?

The MCAT score is not included in an overall academic calculation, but is used as a threshold. Applying with marks that fall below the minimum required will jeopardize the success of your application. The MCAT must be written prior to the application deadline. Applications without MCAT scores will not be considered. 

Only MCATs written within five years of the application deadline will be considered. You must release to the MCAT score to OMSAS each application cycle. Please ensure that you follow all the steps for releasing your MCAT scores. 

Only your most recent MCAT scores will be considered. Please note that this policy is subject to change. 

If I don’t meet the minimum MCAT marks, should I apply?

We are adhering to the minimum MCAT requirements due to application numbers.

Is there financial assistance available to help with the cost of writing MCAT?

Yes. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) are offering a fee assistance program for Canadian examinees in financial need who register for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The AAMC and the AFMC are committed to providing support to Canadian students who would be unable to take the MCAT without financial assistance. This will contribute to a diversity of students enrolled in Canadian medical schools. 

If paying for MCAT expenses out of pocket would be challenging for you, please consider applying!  To check your eligibility and apply, refer to AFMC's website for information on the Fee Assistance Program

What are the minimum scores required on each component of the MCAT to be considered?

Minimum scores of 125 in each of the four sections are required, with an allowance of 124 in one section. We do not use a total MCAT score in our assessment. 

Can I send an update to my ABS?

No. The activities listed are limited to those prior to the application deadline.

How much volunteer and research experience do I need?

There is nothing that you ‘need’ in the Autobiographical Sketch. You will not be penalized for interest in the clinical side of medicine, rather than research, or vice versa. You will not be penalized if you have fewer extracurricular/volunteer activities because of your need for employment. There is no required number of activities or required number of hours. Some candidates may have a large number of activities among which they share their time; others may have a few activities to which they devote a large amount of time. 

How should I choose my references?

Referees should have extensive knowledge of you and be in a position to make reasonable statements concerning how best you fit the four clusters. You may wish to vary your choice of referees to include those with knowledge of different aspects of your activities, both academic and non-academic. It is in your interest to select referees who are able to give an objective assessment. Applications from candidates with letters from friends, family, or family friends or colleagues of close family members will not be considered. 

If a letter arrives at OMSAS one day after the deadline, will it be accepted?

Any materials submitted after the deadline will be considered late and the application will be marked as incomplete so it will not proceed to file review. 

What if people who can verify an activity on my ABS are no longer available?

You are expected to make a reasonable effort to verify all major activities listed in the Autobiographical Sketch. It is understandable that a few verifiers may be out of touch, or no longer with the organization. Please use common sense and do the best you can. 

When I pick the activities/achievements to write about for the three brief ABS statements, is it better if they were medically-related or if they happened overseas?

No. The most important thing is that the three activities show evidence of the attribute clusters. The nature or location of the activity is not relevant to the assessment. 

Will an interesting narrative style make my application stand out?

No. The essays are assessed on content rather than style. A thoughtful, clear and concise writing style with proper spelling, grammar and punctuation is the best way to get your ideas across. 

Are CEGEP, IB and/or AP courses acceptable for prerequisites?

Yes. They must appear on the university transcript as credits.

Are Chemistry and Physics considered life sciences?

No. We classify these as physical sciences.

Are Organic Chemistry and Physics required?

For application to the U of T MD Program, applicants are not required to complete university level courses in Chemistry or Physics. However, applicants are reminded that the MCAT is an application requirement, and that this test requires knowledge of Biology, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, and Conceptual Physics at a first-year university level. 

Can I check if my courses are acceptable as prerequisites?

If you are not sure whether the course fits the definitions given here, you may e-mail us with the course description. It is not necessary to verify Biology, Anatomy or other medical sciences courses, even if they are taken under the auspices of Nursing or Kinesiology. 

Can I complete prerequisites in the year of application?

Yes, but registration in the course must be shown on the transcript submitted to OMSAS.

I am in my third year and need to take a prerequisite course that is only offered as a first-year course, is that acceptable?

Yes. Although you are not expected to have a large number of lower year courses when you reach the upper years, it is understood that courses outside you major area of study may need to be taken at an introductory level. 

Should I pick the courses where I got high marks as prerequisites?

Marks from prerequisite courses are not relevant to the assessment process, except as part of the overall GPA. The most important thing is that you select courses that meet the prerequisite requirements.

Where does Psychology fit?

All Psychology courses taken at U of T are taught as life sciences; however, some universities classify Psychology as a social science. You must check with the university you attended. We will accept their evaluation. If your university cannot provide the designation of their Psychology course, please send us the course description from your course calendar. 

Why should I take Statistics or writing courses if they are only recommendations, and not requirements?

It is our experience that students who have some knowledge of statistics find it helpful in the MD Program. You should also be aware that application to the MD Program involves strong expository writing and comprehension skills. Expository writing involves a discourse or critical evaluation, conveying information or ideas and explaining or expanding on their meaning. It is not necessary that you check these courses with us. 

What qualifies as Life Sciences?

Life Sciences are courses where the main content and focus is on life systems. Some examples would be Biology, Zoology, Anatomy and the medical sciences. Please note that Biophysics or Biomedical Engineering courses must focus on the life systems and not on apparatus design. 

What qualifies as Humanities?

Courses involving literary or historical study. Examples would include Literature, History, Film Studies and Philosophy.

What qualifies as Social Sciences?

Courses involving social, cultural or geographical aspects of a population. Examples would include Sociology, Public Health, Gender Studies, and Anthropology.

In addition to Chemistry & Physics, what other courses are not acceptable as prerequisites?

Music Therapy, Musical Performance or Theory, Dance, Theatre, Mathematics, Computer Science, Geology, Business, Commerce and Statistics.